Channel 4 – The Hotel – Torquay on TV

Smash hit comedy-doc series, The Hotel, is back – with a new seaside location, new staff, new guests, and new calamities.

Set in Torquay, The Grosvenor Hotel is a traditional 3* British holiday hotel. Here, owner/Manager Mark and Reservations Manager Alison answer our questions ahead of the new series.


Questions for Grosvenor Owner/Manager Mark

How and why did you get involved in the series?
The local Hotel Association put me forward, although they’re probably regretting it now! I hope it might be a good advert for Torquay, if not for The Grosvenor, at least for Torquay

Did you enjoy it? How did guests react to the filming?
Yes I really enjoyed it, I always love to try something new. My main concern was loss of business but the majority of guests were quite happy about the filming, and the ones that weren’t so keen we were able to move to one of my other hotels away from the cameras.

What was it like seeing yourself on screen?
I’ve only seen some of it but I can’t really complain about how I see myself on screen because…. it’s me !!

Do you think people will be surprised by the depiction of hotel life?
They might be surprised by OUR depiction of hotel life !!

Do you see the Grosvenor Hotel as a 21st Century Fawlty Towers?
Only since I saw this programme! No, not at all, there is one major difference; Basil didn’t really like his guests, whereas I do. Well, most of them! And I don’t hit my staff.

What do you love about your job? What do you hate about your job?
I love it when the guests are ALL happy……The thing I hate the most is dealing with staff ! Sometimes I think If I could have a hotel with all guests and no staff I’d be happier, because if I don’t like a guest a least they go home at the end of the holiday so I don’t have to put up with them every week.

Would you want to stay as a guest in your hotel?
“Stay as a guest”…I do. ……..I live here !!! But when I do go away I tend to prefer somewhere hot with lots of luxuries. I like having a butler to do everything for me, so they will unpack my case, iron my shirts, and set up my sun bed. So while I’m away I don’t have to think or do anything. Although I pay a lot more than I charge my guests

What’s the funniest/strangest thing you’ve ever had happen at The Grosvenor?
The strangest thing is someone wanting to make a TV programme about us !! As for the funniest, too many to remember, almost every day something happens which amuses me, which is just as well, especially as I never seem to leave the place. So at the moment the guests and staff are my only form of entertainment!

We see you getting very frustrated with the staff and vice versa and you’ve got a very hands-on management style. Do you think you micro-manage?
Management style? I didn’t know I had one !! As for “micro-manage” I have no idea what that even means!! All I know is I sometimes wish I could clone myself and do away with all the staff and just do everything myself. Mind you, after the staff have seen this I might have to !!

Do you wish you’d become an entertainer rather than a hotel owner?
The answer is probably ‘yes’. When I was younger I was quite good, by the time I was 15 I was doing three or four spots a week in local pubs/clubs. Then when I left school at 16 I was offered a summer season at a Holiday Camp as an entertainer but the money was rubbish, so I went and worked 100 hours a week in a Cafe instead, and that was it, the end of my show biz career !! But I’ve always thought “what if ?” Maybe it’s time to give it another go? At the moment the hotel is my stage, the guests are the audience and the staff are the stage hands!!


The Hotel, Torquay

Questions for Reservation Manager Alison

Did you enjoy it? Did you have any reservations?
Yes, I loved it and was really upset when it ended. I was a quite worried about how I might come across because I’m quite loud and vocal but that’s just me! Some guests were a bit concerned about the filming but by the time they actually arrived at the hotel, quite a few actually wanted to get involved.

What was it like seeing yourself on screen?
When I first saw myself on TV I thought OMG is that what I sound and look like? It was a bit scary.

Do you think people will be surprised by the depiction of hotel life?
Maybe it’s stressful behind-the-scenes but it’s mostly calm front-of-house…normally!

Do you see the Grosvenor as a 21st Century Fawlty Towers?
Am I like Sybil? Well, yes, maybe a bit but we like our guests a lot, unlike Basil.

What do you love and hate about your job?
I love it when guests say they’ve had a great holiday and that they’re going to tell all their friends how great it’s been. The worst part is staffing, covering sickness, holidays etc can be really stressful for everyone working extra hours.

Would you stay in The Grosvenor as a guest?
Yes of course. The bar is open 24 hours. I’ve got the seafront on my doorstep and it’s great value, I couldn’t go wrong!

How would you describe Mark’s management skills?
He is like a whirlwind when he comes into a room, causes havoc and then leaves us to sort it all out. He runs his empire but women are behind-the-scenes running the show. Some people might think I’m a bit rude to him but it’s because I care about business and making it work. He’s a good boss but sometimes he drives me absolutely mad.

Source:  Channel 4

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